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The 20 Best Films of 2009

The 20 Best Films of 2009

So after much tinkering, this is what I’ve decided to go with. You could catch me on another day and in another mood and this list – particularly the top 6 or 7 – could be completely flipped upside down. But I’m happy enough with this to let it go. In lieu of having sufficient time for commentary due a ridiculous pre-going-home-for-Christmas to do list breathing down on me, let me just quickly brief on what I would have expanded on:

I would have also noted that I decided on “Bright Star” for the top slot because it’s essentially this gorgeous, confident cinematic poetry that made me melt in my seat and that “Summer Hours” (the most meaningful film of the year), “Up” (heartbreaking Pixarian genius.. and their third consecutive film to make my top 3), “A Serious Man” (which on a second viewing reveals even more hilarity and depth), “35 Shots of Rum” (a perfect companion piece to “Hours” and just as delicate and rich), “Inglourious Basterds” (a deeply ambitious, nearly – but not completely – flawless effort from Mr. Tarantino) and “The Hurt Locker” (action as as an art form!) all were sitting in that spot at one point or another.

I would have included musings on the 3 most overrated films of the year: “Avatar” (technical marvel to be sure.. but still pure, unaffecting cheese), “Up In The Air” (fantastic performances & isolated scenes, but fucks it all up with a contrived and oversentimental third act) and “500 Days of Summer” (over-gimmicky hipster porn, save for Gordon-Levitt’s performance). And gone on about how there were so many films I WANTED to love so badly but things just never pushed far enough for me to get there (all fine films nonetheless: “Where The Wild Things Are,” “An Education,” “Precious,” “Broken Embraces”). Oh, and that the overdirected inane mess that is “The Lovely Bones” is hands down the worst film I saw this year. And, yes, I’ve seen “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

This is why year-end listomania and the insanity that is Christmas should be rescheduled so they don’t coincide. They distract me from one another.

Anyway… here’s the top 20 (and last year’s list for what that’s worth)

1. Bright Star

2. Summer Hours

3. Up

4. A Serious Man

5. 35 Shots of Rum

six to twenty after the jump

6. Inglourious Basterds

7. The Hurt Locker

8. Julia

9. A Single Man

10. District 9

11. In The Loop

12. The White Ribbon

13. Humpday

14. Fantastic Mr. Fox

15. The Maid

16, Anvil! The Story of Anvil

17. Where The Wild Things Are

18. Broken Embraces

19. Duplicity

20. Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

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